If you are looking to preserve your lawn and have it come in green and strong next spring, you are going to want to get out ahead of the coming winter. The best way to ensure that the future deep freeze does not deal a death blow to your sprinkler system or your lawn is to take informed preventative measures. Without further ado, here are the best ways you can prepare your lawn for winter, and a healthy resurrection in spring.
Keep Your Lawn Trimmed Low
Regardless of what you typically keep it at during the grow season, maintaining your lawn at 1-1.5 inches tall in the autumn will make aeration easier. To avoid stressing your lawn, gradually cut it down to 1-1.5 inches starting in late summer going into early fall.
In more temperate climates, odds are your lawn is comprised of a cold-season strain of grass. By aerating in the early autumn, you are avoiding the germination window for local weeds, and giving the soil the benefit of improved oxygen and water intake during the cold season. If your lawn sees a high level of traffic or you live in an area with a high clay content, you will want to aerate every year for maximum penetration of nutrients.
Run the machine around the perimeter of the lawn twice to allow for maneuverability, then aerate the rest of the lawn.
Using a rotary spreader, distribute fertilizer evenly across the lawn. There are different types of fertilizer available for different needs, so be sure to conduct a soil test to determine what type of soil you have. One test you can perform involves baking soda, distilled water, and vinegar.
- Place two tablespoons of soil in a small bowl, then add 1.5 cup vinegar. If the mixture fizzles, the soil is alkaline.
- Place two tablespoons of soil in a small bowl, then moisten with distilled water. Add 1.5 cup of baking soda. If a fizzling reaction occurs, the soil is acidic.
Be sure to pick the best mix for your soil’s needs. Also, if there are any bare patches, be sure to cover these with 1.5 inches of compost before fertilizing.
Seed the Lawn
Once the fertilizer is down, it’s time to distribute the seeds. Using the spreader, set it to roughly two-thirds of the manufacturer’s recommendation and distribute over the fertilizer. Blending different strains of grass is possible, even encouraged in certain scenarios, and should be mixed before being placed in the hopper.
Gently Rake and Water
To avoid washing away the seeds, gently push them into the compost using a rake leaf tines up, then water 3 times a day, five minutes each time, until the seeds begin to sprout. Water again for 15-30 minutes each day until the lawn is 3 inches tall. At this time, the final mow should be done, cut back to 1.5 inches for the winter.
Blow out the Sprinkler System
Now that the lawn has been properly put to rest for the winter, there is no longer a need to water it. Sprinkler blowouts can be conducted by a contractor, and help prevent stuck water from turning to ice which can damage your sprinkler system.